Anand: 'I Hope People Get To Know Me A Bit Better'

Anand: 'I Hope People Get To Know Me A Bit Better'

PeterDoggers
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32 | Chess Event Coverage

Today is the 50th birthday of five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand of India. It is also the day that his latest book comes out. "I hope they take away a slightly more accurate picture, a close-up of what a chess player's life and thoughts are like," he said.

Mind Master Anand

Mind Master—Winning Lessons from a Champion's Life is the story behind the scenes of an enormously successful career, from the world juniors title in 1987 and his FIDE world championship titles in 2000-2002 until his undisputed titles in 2007-2013, alongside his world rapid titles from 2003 and 2017 and the numerous major events he won in all those years.

"What I hope with my book is that people get to know me a little bit better," Anand told Chess.com. "For chess players I hope they find some of my experiences and stories interesting, and for the non-chess player I hope they take away a slightly more accurate picture, a close-up of what a chess player's life and thoughts are like. I hope, broadly, for both of them the life lessons that I have picked will seem relevant and something they can empathize with."

Asked whether he has more writing or similar plans, Anand replied: "This book, well we've been working on it for two years and it's been pretty intense at times. Clearly Aruna [his wife and manager] has done it, so that it's only when I come home that I try to catch up but future plans.... Maybe at some point I'll do something, but right now I want to look back and see how people react to this book."

The team behind the Grenke Chess tournament compiled this wonderful video about Anand in which many players wish him a happy birthday, including world champions Kasparov, Kramnik and Carlsen.

On the occasion of Anand's birthday, Chess.com has collected not a number of best games but a selection of favorite moves from his career. We also asked the great champion for his own opinion: A best game might be hard, so let's make it harder. Can you think of one favorite move you played in all your games?

Anand: "It's gotta be between 20...h6 against Lautier in Biel 1997 and 24...Nc7 against Karjakin in Wijk aan Zee 2006."

So let's have a look. First, the game with French GM Joel Lautier:

Then nine years later against Sergey Karjakin in Wijk aan Zee, Anand sacrificed two pieces in a row to get a devastating attack against the white king in a theoretical Najdorf:

Here's a selection of 10 more great moves played by Anand over his career:

You can also find a video by FM Mike Klein on Chesskid.com where he discusses three of Anand's best moves in his career. Anand is the official ambassador for ChessKid in India.

Chess.com also asked Anand if he has a favorite opponent over the years, one against whom he has pleasant memories for having played great games together. His answer:

"I have no idea what the answer is, but when I was thinking of an answer, I remembered with pleasure my match with [Teimour] Radjabov in Mainz in 2006. I mean, this is a match where we played some very interesting games, and Radjabov came at me with all he had and, therefore, it was a very intense match."

This was a rapid match over eight games, won by Anand 5-3 with only two draws. Here's one game:

Asked how he will celebrate his birthday, Anand said: "I hope to have a quite private celebration at home, just immediate family. Obviously it'll probably have to be broader than that, but I want to have a quiet day because I expect to have a busy week right after my birthday." 

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